The Affair Between Arab World Monarchies
In the interests of “staying in power at all costs,” Samia Errazzouki writes in Jadaliyya that Morocco, historically focusing its efforts on strengthening its ties with Europe, has shifted its focus back toward Arabia, coming largely as the result of the wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the region.
The Moroccan economy has received massive investment from the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, and Qatar. Errazzouki maintains that the close economic ties mirror Morocco’s recent foreign policies. Its decision to cut off ties with Iran, for example, reflects King Mohammed VI support for his Arab Royals in Bahrain. “Even if it comes at the expense of cutting ties with other countries,” says Errazzouki, Morocco’s foreign policy decisions are heavily influenced by its ties to the Gulf. This is evidenced by Morocco’s proposal for membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council, despite its location thousands of miles away. The article draws a direct connection between Morocco’s bid for membership and the February 20th pro-democracy movement’s failure to gain popular support.
The Moroccan-GCC alliance, says Errazzouki, has been “redefined through regional politics.” Pointing to Morocco’s position as the only member of the Arab league to have representation on the UN Security Council, it acts “as a proxy for sudi and Qatari foreign policies.” Morocco’s reliance on remittance, a volatile tourism industry, high illiteracy rate, and rampant poverty makes it an unlikely candidate for GCC membership. Thus Errakouzzi describes the bid as an act of “political desperation”.” “Should the Moroccan monarchy have fallen to a popular uprising, the Gulf monarchies would have lost one of their remaining political an economic extensions in North Africa,” says Errakouzzi.